Camosun College Professional Cook Training relishes new ideas along with new beginnings. We are very excited to become a regular culinary contributor to the ‘GoWestShore Magazine.’ In this first article, I would like to introduce you to one of the most successful Red Seal designated Professional Cook programs in Canada.
In addition to the rigorous daily technical training at the Interurban campus cafeteria and the well-known ClassRoom Restaurant (www.camosun.ca/dining), the Professional Cook Training program has a range of active community-engaging initiatives for apprentices that offer them an optimum range of applied learning opportunities. Because of these initiatives, apprentices are able to build a solid foundation of practical experience along with the technical culinary skills of the program that will ultimately increase their worth to future employers. The training exposes apprentices to a variety of real-life situations found in existing food systems today. This is done to expand the horizons of cooks within, and sometimes away from, their chosen culinary path. Some current explorations include:
One current collaboration with the participants from the Employment Training and Preparation program (ETP) involves growing micro-greens and salads in the Camosun greenhouse. This provides cooks and the ETP folks an opportunity to gain horticulture experience alongside the preparation of the freshest and tastiest ingredients.
Tours to local farms, producers, and food service partners is on-going. Each excursion enlightens both students and hosts alike to the triumphs, challenges, and requirements of the other. From large corporate distributors to small scale growers and producers, multi-generation family farms, and independent craft brewers, the goal is to expose apprentice cooks to the broad food system landscape we all participate in.
Most recently, a street food cart has been travelling the halls of the institution to bring both culinary students and delicious ramen soup to the Camosun population at large. The response has been tremendous! This tasty gastronomic treat arrives fresh and hot for staff and students alike. The experience allows culinary apprentices a way to engage with the public outside of the regular kitchen environment.
We envision that with Red Seal Certifications, our future Camosun graduates will be recognized around the world. They will have had the valuable experiences they will need to function with strong moral and ethical values in the ever-evolving, exciting world of food services.